EDITORIAL: Future looks bright for drone usage

Recent test run on Mount Finlayson gave Langford a glimpse at how devices can help in emergencies

All unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, are not created equal. While flying a hobby store model for fun or filming one’s recreational activities from a unique angle, for example, will continue to grow in popularity, the industrial uses of UAVs have us excited to see what comes next.

Langford Fire Rescue was given a taste of the potential effectiveness of UAVs last weekend when firefighters were called to haul yet another fallen hiker off Mount Finlayson – that’s eight this year, and counting.

Commercial operator David Carlos flew his camera-equipped aircraft during the rescue. He was making his first flight over the mountain and helped mainly to chart out a safe escape route for emergency responders. But he adapted quickly and vowed to have a better feel for the terrain and layout next time, should locating a lost or injured hiker be more of an issue.

It illustrated how UAVs can be a critical piece of equipment to help make such operations safer for all involved.

While UAVs and their crude prototypes have been around for a while, we’re just now finding out how they can best be put to commercial use. Carlos, who holds a certificate from Transport Canada that gives him permission to operate his UAV for specified commercial purposes, has had to notify officials of any planned flight 20 days ahead of time.

Aware that being called in rescue situations might happen more frequently, he recently asked Transport Canada for the OK to fly at a moment’s’ notice – as when asked to help out in an emergency situation, for example. He got a thumbs up and was told to file his flight information immediately afterwards.

Sounds to us like Transport Canada is willing to loosen the reins for people who have proven to be reliable and trustworthy with UAV use. As with any new technology, it takes a while for the humans in charge to catch up and create policies that make sense in the real world.

Transport Canada guidelines seem to indicate that they have given plenty of thought to the multitude of uses of such vehicles, from single-propeller, lightweight recreational models to multi-prop aircraft controllable at long range and capable of reaching high speeds and altitude.

We like that a government agency appears to be using logic and common sense to determine the best way forward and that local agencies might one day have another valuable tool in their toolbox.

And while stories of inappropriate use of remote-controlled aircraft have hogged attention in recent years, the positive uses of this emerging technology are more interesting to us.

Just Posted

Invasive crab spotted near Sooke

Fisheries need more data to know if numbers are increasing

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Credit card frauds target local businesses: VicPD

Crime Reduction Unit investigating several frauds costing several businesses over $50,000

Fatherhood draws Victoria man to publish Tsimshian colouring book for children

Leon McFadden is working on 11 more books to finish the horoscope series

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying?

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

Most Read